Most manatees migrate up and down the coast of Florida, with a few actually traveling as far as Georgia or beyond. They follow the same schedule and pattern as human snowbirds, heading south for warmer temperatures during the winter months and back north again when the temperatures start to heat back up.
Some scientists think that a percentage of manatees go against this trend and “reverse migrate,” even suggesting that some may remain in this local area year-round.
Project Summer Manatee, led by Friends of Manatee Lagoon, will use a variety of scientific and technical tools to look into this mystery. In Year One, our research partners at Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute will oversee a team of drone pilots and scientists that will search Lake Worth Lagoon for evidence of their presence. If manatees are found, in Year Two, select manatees will be tagged, allowing the team to analyze their behavior and travel paths.
Why is Project Summer Manatee Important?
Manatees are considered one of Florida’s flagship and indicator species whose behavior can alert researchers to environmental and habitat changes that may otherwise go unnoticed in Florida’s waterways for extended periods of time.
If there are indeed manatees in the immediate area of Lake Worth Lagoon during the summer months, it would be enormously helpful to understand why they don’t follow the usual migration path or schedule, and where they frequent, so that we can share that information with boaters and the general public, including visitors to Manatee Lagoon. This information could also guide local environmental experts to use our data to help direct future restorations efforts such as sea grass replenishment.
How can you support Project Summer Manatee?
Come along with us on this adventure. We welcome your donations to help us cover the costs involved with this important research study. Other than annual manatee counts to track the overall population size, this is the first study of its kind for manatees in Lake Worth Lagoon.
Donations can be made in a variety of ways.
Thank you for your support!